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As Paul McCartney Turns 78, the Experts Sound Off On What Keeps the Music Legend Going

When Paul McCartney was a part of The Beatles, he would ask us if we’d still need him, if we’d still feed him, when he’s 64. Asked and answered: Paul has just turned 78 and there is no stopping the man who seems to be on a perpetual world tour, armed with never-flagging energy and performing one three-hour show after another. Given the sold-out nature of those concerts, it’s pretty safe to say that, yes, we still need him and we still feed him.

What’s so impressive about Sir Paul is the fact that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the official dissolution of the Fab Four, and, physically and creatively, he’s is still going strong. Besides the concerts, not long ago he released his 25th studio album, Egypt Station, which is in addition to classical recordings he’s done as well as a number of experimental discs (most notably under the banner name The Fireman), compilations, live albums and over a hundred singles(!). Overall, it’s been a career of incredible highs with some misfires along the way, but through it all, the connection between Paul McCartney and his fans remains high.

Michel Euler/AP/Shutterstock

To take a look back at his solo career, we’ve turned to Bill King, editor of Beatlefan magazine, the definitive news source for all things Beatles-related since 1978; veteran music journalist Paul De Noyer, who compiled his numerous in depth interviews with Paul into the book Conversations with McCartney; and Luca Perasi, who has written the most-definitive-to-date look at Paul’s recording history, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013). All three have obviously been touched by the creative prowess of the “Cute Beatle.”

“The first time I interviewed him was 40 years ago, and I felt very nervous,” admits Paul De Noyer. “After that, it became a regular occurrence to me, so I stopped feeling nervous, but I always felt excited. I always had a sense of talking to somebody who would have a place in history long after he was gone and after I was gone. That the name and work of Paul McCartney would still have significance in the world, which sounds a bit pretentious, but I just mean that he’s not only famous, he’s done things which will be enduring within an artistic sense. That made me feel excited, and maybe a little bit privileged that I was being given time not just to meet him, but to actually have conversations with him about his work.”

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